Thucydides Mythistoricus by Francis MacDonald Cornford

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Thucydides Mythistoricus by Francis MacDonald Cornford

12.50 23.22

THUCYDIDES MYTHISTORICUS. BY FRANCIS MACDONALD CORNFORD. London : Edward Arnold, 1907. First Edition. Scarce. 

A solid and attractive scarce book. Published nearly 110 years ago, this edition is now long out of print and hard to find.

From the Preface: "The title of this book needs a word of explanation, if not of apology; for to any one who is accustomed to think of Thucydides as typically prosaic, and nothing if not purely historical, the epithet My historicus may seem to carry a note of challenge, or even of paradox. But the sense in which the expression has here been used is quite consistent with the historian's much-talked-of 'trustworthiness', and, indeed, with the literal truth of every statement of fact in the whole of his work. It is possible, however, even for a writer of history, to be something much better than trustworthy. Xenophon, I suppose, is honest; but his honesty makes it none the easier to read him. to read Thucydides is, although certainly not easy, at any rate pleasant, because -- trustworthiness and all -- he is a great artist. IT is the object of this essay to bring out an essentially artistic aspect of his work, which has escaped notice, partly because the history is so long that is hard to take it in as a whole, and partly because the execution of the effect is imperfect, having been hindered by the good intentions with which Thucydides set out. The history, as it stands, is the product of two hardly compatible designs. IT was originally planned as a textbook of strategy and politics in the form of a journal; and it is commonly taken to be actually nothing more. But the work, in the course of its progress, began to grow, as it were of itself, out of his pedestrian plan into a shape with another contour, which, however, is broken by the rigid lines of the old plan, and discontinuous; much as a set of volcanic islands might have themselves out of the sea, at much angles and distance that only to the eye of a bird, and not to the sailor cruising among them, would they appear as the summits of one and the same submerged mountain-chain. The present essay is mainly an attempt to chart these islands, leaving uncoloured blanks where the sea lies flat between them, and infringing none of the finishing-rights of the professed historian. IT is the intrusion of the artistic tendency--for a thing so unpremeditated hardly be called a design--that justifies the epithet Mythistoricus..."

According to Wikipedia: "Francis Macdonald Cornford, FBA (27 February 1874 – 3 January 1943) was an English classical scholar and poet; because of the similarity of his forename and his wife's, he was known to family as "FMC" and his wife Frances as "FCC".[1] Cornford was educated at St Paul's School and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was a Fellow from 1899 and held a teaching post from 1902.[2] He became Laurence Professor of Ancient Philosophy in 1931 and was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1937. His work Thucydides Mythistoricus (1907) argued that Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War was informed by Thucydides' tragic view. From Religion to Philosophy: A Study in the Origins of Western Speculation (1912) sought out the deep religious and social categories and concepts that informed the achievements of the early Greek philosophers. He returned to this theme in PrincipiumSapientiae: The Origins of Greek Philosophical Thought (posthumously published, 1952). His Microcosmographia Academica (1908) was the classic insider's satire on academic politics. It is the source of a number of catchphrases, such as the "doctrine of unripeness of time", "the Principle of the Wedge", and "the Principle of the Dangerous Precedent".[5][6]"

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Thick Octavo - sized hardcover book; xvi + 252 pages of text. Good- condition: somewhat delicate binding; no torn or missing pages; penciled notes, notations & underlining within text of some pages; untrimmed page edges; penciled signature, note, and pricing note on front endpapers. Original hardcover binding, with wear, tearing along top of front spine edges, tearing to head of spine, fraying to corners, some scuffing, and sun fading to spine. A solid and attractive copy of this book. 

Please look through my other auction listings- I have listed many scarce and unusual books this week on ebay. Please bid on more than one book, because I will be happy to reduce shipping costs for multiple purchases; media mail postage is $4 for this listing, and $1 for each additional book that you win from me. International bids welcomed, international airmail postage $28; Canadian airmail postage $20. 


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